2014 NFL Draft: Will QB Be A Priority for Philadelphia Eagles?

By Rick Stavig
Philadelphia Eagles
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

As was discussed in the recent look at the Philadelphia Eagles‘ 2014 NFL Draft needs, there’s a lot of work to be done, especially on the defensive side of the ball. All the response to the article was positive, except Philly fans wanted to know whether or not they should address the position in the draft.

I didn’t comment much on the QB situation then because I was planning this piece, where we’ll go further in depth on whether they should draft a QB or not; and if so, how high?

First of all, Michael Vick is the perfect fit in Chip Kelly’s offense. He was the prototype that essentially gave birth to this scheme. Unfortunately, Vick is 33-years-old, and while that isn’t too old in terms of QBs (Drew Brees is 34, Tom Brady 36 and Peyton Manning 37), he’s taken 10 times the number of shots over the years as any other ‘older’ QB. As often as he’s hurt, you just can’t depend on him.

That’s the unfortunate flip side of having a dual-threat QB. It’s great that they’re a legitimate threat on the ground and they help keep defenses honest, but they take almost as many hits as a running back and we all know about RB lifespans in the NFL. Vick clearly isn’t the future of this team — at least not the long-term franchise QB that they’re craving.

Nick Foles? I think he’s a very good QB. I think he could be a very successful starting QB in the NFL. In fact, I think he compares very favorably to Matt Schaub (circa 2007, not 2013), who was in the exact same situation, backing up (when healthy) Vick. But Foles isn’t an ideal fit for Kelly’s offense. He wants a mobile QB who can truly offer a threat in the read-option.

Matt Barkley hasn’t given any indication whatsoever he’s the guy of the future, which is unfortunate because I’ve always been a big fan of his. He’s got everything in the world you could ever ask for in an elite franchise QB, except he has a noodle for an arm. Put Vick or Foles’ arm on Barkley’s body — boom, now there’s your franchise QB.

Unfortunately, Dr. Frankenstein doesn’t exist, and there will be no swapping of limbs. So what to do?

Vick’s a free agent after this year, and he’ll more than likely be gone. Barkley? He’s due for backup duty at best if he’s not moved. Foles?  He’s clearly going to have to be the starter at least to begin the 2014 season, which leads us to the Eagles drafting a QB.

They’re going to have to draft a QB, this is certain. Unless Kelly totally adapts his offensive philosophy to the skill set of Foles (which he has too much pride to do), he’s going to need to find a franchise QB. Without at least the promise of one and if they keep losing, the heat under Kelly’s seat is only going to get hotter, justly or not.

Luckily, there’s not only a plethora of talent in this year’s QB class, there’s also a good number of dual-threats. If they decide to take a QB early and if they have a top-15 pick, they’ll have some good options, notably Marcus Mariota (Oregon) and Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M). Mariota will be in contention for the top pick overall so that may be a stretch, and Manziel could go top-10, meaning the Eagles could miss out on both.

If that’s the case, they shouldn’t take a QB that doesn’t fit the scheme perfectly just to take a QB and please the crowd. That’s when they take Notre Dame NT Louis Nix and take a step in the direction of solidifying the defense.

There’s a lot of really good QBs in this class that not only fit the scheme, but will be available outside of the first round: Tajh Boyd (Clemson), Stephen Morris (Miami), Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois), Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech), Keith Price (Washington), Connor Shaw (South Carolina), etc.

My take? Dump Vick, keep Foles for the time being, take Nix if he’s available (if their top QB choices are already taken) then take a QB in the mid-rounds. Let him backup Foles, and keep Barkley as the no. 3.

Rick Stavig is an NFL Draft Columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickstavig or add him to your network on google.


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